Producers desk

Making your advertising stick like glue with Mnemonics

Who is the king of beers? What restaurant has the golden arches? What car company is “The Heart beat of America”? How do you spell relief?
Why are these simple things so ingrained into our conscience and how can we make our advertising be so easily remembered? You can say these are effective brands, but what makes them stick.
I have been writing musical jingles for businesses for years to help clients name and message stick into the listeners mind like glue, but when a client asked me why exactly certain commercials stick in peoples mind and why some don’t, I did not have a clear cut answer to tell him other than my own personal opinion. I decided to do my own research on how the brain works and why some things are easily remembered and why some things are not. The information helped me out to explain to my customers and I thought that it might be helpful to others in the advertising business explain it to their clients.
In my research one word came up time and time again, Mnemonics, Mnemonics are mental triggers that spark memory. They can bring back memories of emotions and events by a simple trigger. They use symbols that are visual or auditory and are most effective when put together. I discovered that the brain stores information symbolically meaning it turns analytical thought into simple symbols that are easier to be stored into the procedural or long term memory of the brain. Mnemonics turns experiences and feelings into symbols and also unlocks the symbols and turns them back into analytical thought. A good example of this is if I show you a negative symbol of a Nazi Swastika, the first thing that happens is it brings out a feeling of negativity and then the brain starts to bring back the analytical thoughts of why this is a negative sign such as memories of Hitler, the Holocaust and war. The feelings comes first and then the why. This is the same with particular sounds, smells and touch. This is why logos and musical jingles are so effective in advertising they are Mnemonics that store information symbolically.
So why does some advertising stick and not others? I also found that there are key elements that need to be in place to create mnemonics and why they are important. Here are five key elements to making mnemonics work for you.

1) Creative must be noticeably different (unfamiliar). The brains reticular activating system (RAS) takes notice to information that stands out and blocks out unneeded information. It is the gate keeper to what information gets stored.
2) Creative must spark an emotion. The brain stores emotions (love, fear, excitement, humor) into symbols.
3) Creative needs to be repetitive. This is how the brain stores information, by reinforcing an event over and over again. This turns an electrical memory (short term) into a chemical memory (long term).
4) Creative needs to be simple, short and catchy. A catchy hook is a symbol and symbols are how the brain stores information.
5) Creative must have a simple call to action. Listeners don’t want to think, so do the thinking for them (call, email, come in, get more information, buy now).

I have always had success with musical jingles in creating the mental triggers needed to store the name and message of my clients into their customers head. The reason for this is that they are rhythmic and melody mnemonics. They are the musical equivalent of a company’s logo. They create a symbolic anchor that grabs attention, creates emotion and stores into the long term memory of the brain. This is why we are taught to learn our ABC’s by singing them in a song. This is also why through out history human beings have used psalms, poetry and nursery rhymes to pass on information from generation to generation. They are very easily remembered.
So if your client asks you why some advertising seems to stick and why some advertising doesn’t, you have an answer for them. You can say, it’s simple my friend, Mnemonics.

Michael Beardmore is a musical composer and producer who has worked with a number of gold and platinum recording producers in Hollywood, CA. and now runs a music production company named The Jingle Company in Gilbert, AZ. He can be reached at 480-600-9604 or You can here samples of his work at His slogan is “Advertising…It’s a Jingle out there!